International Journal of Coercion, Abuse, and Manipulation (IJCAM) 

Vo. 6, (2023).  Published April 16, 2023. 

DOI: 10.54208/1000/0006/004

PDF of Article   | PDF of Issue (in development)

Jesus Built My Strawman: The Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International and “minister” Edward Jay Robin Belanger

Donald J. Netolitzky, PhD, K.C. 


The Canada-based Church of the Ecumenical Redemption International [CERI] falsely

purports to be a community of strict King James Bible literalists. CERI’s religious claims

are a strategic mask for the “church’s” true nature and objectives. CERI is a “legal cult,”

a group organized around a central guru figure: “minister” Edward Jay Robin Belanger.

This fake church’s doctrine combines stereotypic pseudolaw concepts derived from the

US Sovereign Citizen movement, conspiratorial anti-government and anti-Semitic beliefs,

with passages from the 1611 King James Bible. CERI and Belanger make no faith-based

promises, but, instead, claim that a combination of esoteric paperwork, proclamations of

Christian status, and demands for international treaty-based religious accommodation,

grants CERI’s members special and extraordinary advantages (e.g., to defy and

neutralize government authority, eliminate debts, and escape sanction for criminal


This study investigates CERI and Belanger’s nearly 25-year history of pseudolaw and

criminal activity, using 21 Canadian legal proceedings conducted between 2009-2019 to

develop a profile of CERI’s followers, CERI litigation tactics, and to explore the usually

short-lived relationships between Belanger and his followers. CERI is the most

aggressive and litigious Canadian pseudolaw group, but CERI adherents and Belanger

consistently fail in court. CERI and Belanger are relevant to the developing

understanding of the broader social impact and operation of pseudolaw, as an example of

a long-duration but small population group. While many pseudolaw groups are true

social communities, CERI functions primarily as a parasite/host pairing, where Belanger

exploits those who adopt CERI strategies. This legal cult of personality operates chiefly

within the broader Canadian pseudolaw ecosystem, but in a marginal, though remarkably

persistent, manner.